COVID-19 – FCA's update for consumers
In the current unsettling time, in addition to publishing guidance for firms, the FCA is keen to maintain contact with consumers. The FCA wants to ensure consumers are being protected and therefore, is providing regular advice on the steps that consumers can take to stay aware of any potential impact on their finances.
The key areas of focus include insurance, mortgages, and scams.
The FCA is having regular conversations with insurers to ensure that they manage any impact of the COVID-19 crisis on their operations. On 19 March 2020, the FCA published an update on how COVID-19 could impact consumer insurance, focussing on travel, home and motor covers.
On 20 March 2020, the FCA issued new guidance on how it expects mortgage lenders and administrators to treat customers fairly during this situation. Steps that the FCA expects lenders to take to provide support are: payment holidays arrangements and a temporary stop to repossession actions. For more information on these steps, click here.
The FCA also wants to raise awareness that consumers could be susceptible to scammers during this time, noting that scammers are opportunistic and will likely prey on the vulnerable in the current climate. These scams may take many forms and could be about insurance policies, pensions or investment opportunities. The FCA suggests that, to protect themselves, consumers should:
- Reject offers that come out of the blue.
- Beware of adverts on social media channels and paid for/sponsored adverts online.
- Use the FCA Register and Warning List to check who they are dealing with.
- Do not click links or open emails from senders they don't already know.
- Avoid being rushed or pressured into making a decision.
- Call back existing providers who call them unexpectedly.
- Not give out personal details (bank details, address, existing insurance/pensions/investment details).
More information can be found here.